pexels-photo-167910When I first became involved in OCD advocacy in 2010, I would occasionally come across articles or books written by therapists or health-care professionals whose biographies revealed they had obsessive-compulsive disorder. I always found this information comforting, because at the time it was difficult for me to believe my son would ever again be able to function in the outside world. If someone with OCD could come so far and achieve so much — from struggling with a devastating disorder to helping others overcome this same illness, then maybe there was hope for my son as well.

Every year I seem to be coming across more and more therapists and other health-care professionals who not only specialize in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder but also have OCD themselves. Is it because people in general are more comfortable disclosing their mental health issues? Or could it be that more people who have overcome OCD are choosing careers where they can help others do the same? Either way,

How great is that!

I have written before about how those with OCD are often hesitant to seek help as they are aware of how irrational their obsessions and compulsions are. They are embarrassed to discuss their OCD in detail. And let’s face it. The stigma in regards to brain disorders is alive and well. But if their therapist also has OCD, they just might be more willing to share. After all, who can understand what you’re going through and how you are feeling more than someone who has been there? I have also spoken with therapists who have obsessive-compulsive disorder who have expressed how much it means to them to be able to help those who are suffering with the same illness they have been able to overcome. It think it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of having so many practicing therapists with obsessive-compulsive disorder goes back to a word in the first paragraph of this post: HOPE. Imagine being at the end of your rope, severely debilitated by OCD. Somehow you manage to get yourself to a therapist’s office and lo and behold, you find out that he or she used to be as debilitated as you are now. How could you not have hope? You are face to face with someone who has not only overcome a potentially devastating disorder, but is now in the position to help you. This person has obviously worked very hard to achieve their dream of helping others. They have chosen a difficult path and have succeeded. How could there be any better role model for those who are wondering if they might ever be able to live the lives they so desperately want?

One of the main reasons I advocate so passionately for OCD awareness is to spread the word that OCD, no matter how severe, is treatable, and I often refer to my son’s story of recovery as proof. But to have that proof — that hope — sitting in the same room as you? I don’t think it can get any better than that.